The Uruguayan defender spoke to SPORT about all things Barcelona
Ronald Araujo spoke to SPORT in an exclusive interview about his arrival at Barcelona and becoming a key player there. This is part two.
Have you learned a lot from Gerard Piqué?
A lot. By his side you learn a lot. He is one of my reference points. I admire him a lot, since I came to the club. He is not that fast, but he is very smart. He is always well placed, he is great on the ball. He is one of the best centre-backs in the world, he has won everything, he is a world champion. These years by his side have been very useful to me because I always tried to get all the juice out of it I could.
The other day, president Laporta highlighted your commitment and also your character. Very Uruguayan. You are seen as a leader. Do you see himself as a captain one day?
I'm not working to be a captain. If the possibility arises in the future, it’s welcome because it would be something tremendous, but everything comes naturally to me. I like to be like that, encourage my teammates, not only on the pitch. I also ask them about other things, because I think it's good that we're all plugged in. We all want to win and to achieve it, it is good that we are all good.
A Uruguayan character, but you are almost Brazilian.
(Laughs). I am Uruguayan, Uruguayan. It is true that my city, Ribera, borders Brazil and that I have a Brazilian family, but I was born in Uruguay and I am Uruguayan, Uruguayan.
What does Xavi ask of you since he came to the Barça bench?
Above all, let me be me. He gives me the freedom to be able to speak, to be able to scream if necessary, to encourage my colleagues. I am learning a lot with the ball. It is something that had been lost in recent years. That philosophy that the defense has to bring out the ball had been lost. The truth is that since I joined the first team it was something that we were not doing and with Xavi we are recovering it. He shows me videos of the mistakes I make, of the things I do well. Since Xavi's arrival I've been growing a lot with the ball.
Is that the main room for improvement for him, with the ball?
I'm not a donkey with the ball either, but yes, that's why I have to keep learning. I come from a very different style to that of Barça and in recent years this has not been worked on here, as I have said. In these six months, I am improving a lot in this aspect. You can see it in the games, I'm making a lot of passes forward. I really like to see statistics, see everything and I'm improving a lot.
You're getting better at getting the ball out, but you live like a defender. You just have to see how you celebrate when you win a duel.
I like to defend a lot. When I win a duel I like to celebrate. I feel it like that, I love defending.